Corporate Compliance

Medical staff bylaws

Compliance Monitor, August 24, 2007

Q: Are the medical staff bylaws a contract between the medical staff and the hospital?

A: Courts in approximately half of the states have indeed recognized bylaws as contracts. In most cases where the bylaws were deemed a contract, a medical staff member sued the hospital because a particular procedural right in the bylaws was not followed. Other courts have ruled that, while the medical staff bylaws do not meet the legal requirements for a formal contract, they are nonetheless binding on the hospital and the medical staff. Thus, the majority view is that they are indeed "contracts." majority view.

Consult with your legal counsel to be sure that you understand the law in your state. Note that one way to get around this issue is to include a statement in the bylaws noting that it is the intent of all the parties (i.e., the medical staff and the hospital) to be bound by the provisions adopted.

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